Sunday, December 12, 2010

be consoled

today, i am 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant. tomorrow, i will be 39 weeks pregnant. antonio was born at 38 weeks, 6 days. i went into labor at 39 weeks with julia belén.

i won't lie, i was nervous at this point with the other 2. the unknown of it all. but i felt more "prepared". i felt ready earlier this week, i would have said the same about this baby. but last night, i couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face. fear, anxiety, loneliness, exhaustion. so many reasons filled my mind as to why i suddenly panicked at the thought of going into labor.

i feel like some days i struggle to manage my 3.5 and 2 year old. how could i possibly add a newborn to the mix? working full time this year with the 2 kids has been hard enough. how could i possibly go back to work with 3? just the logistics of getting them all out the door on time. i get overwhelmed just thinking about it. how can i handle 3 kids 3 and under with family so far away. the distance only seems to grow further and further with each baby, each illness, each "event". it's hard not to feel lonely and left out.

but then this morning, i was blessed to read the words of our lady of guadalupe. our lady of guadalupe appeared as an aztec princess to the humble juan diego in 1531. today is her feast day:

"Hear and let it penetrate your heart, my dear. 
Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you,
Let nothing alter your heart or your countenance.
Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety, or pain.
Am I not here, your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not your fountain of life?
Are you not in the folds of my mantle,
In the crossing of my arms?
Is there anything else that you need?"
tears streamed down my face for a different reason this morning. these words, so very true. really, what else do i need? how can i ask for anything more? look who is on my side! 
while we won't get to share arrival of our third child with as many loved ones as we would have liked, we are never alone. these words will be close to my heart for the remainder of my pregnancy (however long/short it might me), labor, and days and years to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

(almost) full term Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving day, I will be 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Just a few days short of being officially full-term. At this point, they won't do anything to stop the baby from coming should I go into labor. Not that there are any signs of that happening, just kind of a crazy thought. With it being so close to our due date, we are staying home for Thanksgiving. Though we will miss our family, we are looking forward to a few quiet and restful days at home with the kids.

But back to the big turkey day. I am hosting dinner at my house this year. You don't have to know me well to know I love to cook, and it's usually from scratch. Which is why I feel a *little* guilty about our Thanksgiving menu. I had to compromise. Fortunately, we have great friends joining us for dinner and will be sharing a lot of the cooking. But what is the almost full term pregnant woman making for dinner? Here's my cheater's menu:

- Turkey: No way around making a turkey. Brine it and roast it. Super easy.

- Orange-cranberry relish: Probably the easiest thing to make on the menu. God bless the food processor.

- Green bean casserole: Yep, the super traditional version where you basically empty cans into a casserole dish. God bless my husband for actually requesting it vs. a more "from scratch" recipe.

- Mashed baked: It was with a heavy heart that I decided mashed potatoes from scratch might be more work than I wanted this year. It just feels wrong not to have them. And a heavy, cholesterol laden, heart is what we'll get with this super yummy Paula Dean recipe with all it's butter, sour cream, cheese, cream cheese, and boxed mashed potato mix goodness.

- Brussel sprouts: The one thing I'm making tomorrow that will require spending some time in the kitchen. But my husband loves them.

- Dinner rolls: Alright, I admit I did make these completely from scratch.

- Apple pie: Homemade filling made from local apples. But, (gasp!), store bought crust.

So there it is. My semi-homemade Thanksgiving menu. In the end, it won't matter how fancy dinner was or how much I "cheated". It's a day about giving thanks for the things we have, counting our blessings, and enjoying the company of good friends and family.

Monday, November 01, 2010

the great outdoors

we went on a family camping trip with some good friends over columbus day weekend. the site andres found was a hike in campsite. i confess, at 29 weeks pregnant, i was not thrilled about being more than stone's throw from a bathroom. but i was also worried about how the kids would do, how would their short little legs hold up.

little julia belén has always been more of the adventurer. aside from getting tired, i wasn't worried about her being fearful. but my antonio has always been much more timid. shy on the playground, hesitant to go down the slides or on the swings without coaxing. ironic as it is, my son's gross motor skills are not his strong suit.

which is why it was such a delight to see my little trailblazer take on the trails without hesitation. he just hiked right on in, completely ignoring any briars he brushed up against or the roots that created constant trip hazards. it was as if he found his niche. so at ease being out in the great outdoors. not afraid of getting dirty, piling up mounds of dirt to make "cake" and singing happy birthday. using his imagination as he found different ways to play with sticks and rocks. there was no fear, no anxiety. just a little boy being a little boy. adventurous, mischievous, unafraid.

Friday, September 17, 2010

cravings or His plans?

i'll clear any confusion by starting off saying that i was not injured in a car accident this afternoon. i made it safely home, though quite shaken by the events of the drive.

my friday commute home involves driving on 2 major atlanta highways, 285 and 85. at 2:15ish on a friday, there is a good amount of volume and most cars go well over the 55 mph speed limit. after i left work, i had to run an errand that was actually about 30 minutes in the opposite direction from the house. a kind friend is letting us borrow some great baby gear and i had promised i would pick it up today. while on the way to her house, i decided that i absolutely had to have a frosty float. i just had to. so after picking up the gear, i went through the drive thru at the next wendy's i passed, happy to have my craving satisfied.

so i'm driving along 285. the radio is on, but i'm not on the phone. just looking forward to picking up the kids for our new tradition of "froyo fridays". about 2 miles from spaghetti junction (a huge interchange where i would have switched highways), i suddenly noticed 2 cars driving erratically. and very close to each other. at first i thought it was just a near accident. maybe one car had almost merged into the other. but as i slowed a little and continued to watch, i noticed the green SUV was purposely chasing the white sedan. reckless and aggressive are understatements in describing what i was witnessing. by this point, i had just stopped. so had the rest of traffic around me, as we all watched and waited for the chase to end. one or both cars would inevitably crash and be forced to stop.

that was only half the case. the green SUV did succeed in hitting the white sedan, causing the sedan to spin. but i noticed that neither car was stopping. it was at this point i started to panic. after all, they weren't very far in front of me. less than 50 yards. i just kept repeating "please stop, please stop, make it stop".

but it didn't. the white sedan got control and apparently decided its best chance for escape was to drive in the opposite direction on the highway.

right. towards. me.

the 2 cars were literally driving at me head on in my lane. i looked to my right, there was a huge blue and yellow semi in the lane next to me. i looked to my left, more cars and not much room. so there i was, a sitting duck with 2 cars coming straight at me. i'm full out sobbing by now, holding my almost 27 week pregnant belly, crying, "no, no, please no". the white sedan's rear bumper flew off the back of his car with less than 10 yards to go. i'm watching the man driving the car: a grown man, white shirt, mustache, gray hair. there were others in the car but i didn't look past the driver. i wonder if they saw the panic and fear in my face amidst my tears. at what seemed like the last moment, he swerved to my left and both cars passed me and continued in the opposite direction.

i don't know how and when i started driving again, but there was an off ramp less than a quarter mile from where i had been stopped. even as i was on the ramp, i saw the white car go zooming past in the right direction on the highway. i didn't wait to look for the green car. i pulled into a gas station at the top of the ramp and there i sat, shaking and crying, terrified to drive any further. what if the chase continued? what if i came across them again? no less than 4 police cars went zooming past and got on 285 from the very exit at which i had parked.

after about 45 minutes, i summed up the courage to just go home. it was probably the longest drive home ever. i struggled not to vomit. i felt my neck and back tensing, knowing i would be sore by the evening. when i finally made it the daycare provider's house, i again broke into tears as antonio and julia belén wrapped their little arms around me. her house is less than 2 miles from mine, and no interstate driving required. it was a short drive to the house from there, and i was never happier to make it home.

it's been a long afternoon and evening as i try not to rehash and relive the events of the drive home. easier said than done. all the "what ifs" racing through my mind:

- what if andres and the kids had been in the car...
- what if i had not gone to pick up the stuff...
- what if had tried to change lanes to my left at the last minute...
- what if i had written one more e-mail before leaving work...
- what if i had not gotten a little lost on the way to pick up the baby gear...
- what if i had not stopped to fulfill my pregnancy craving...
- what if...

could doing/not doing any one of these things have been what saved me and the baby from a far worse outcome? as i try to move past what happened today (without developing a crippling fear of driving on the interstate), i tell myself God knew what He was doing. it was His grace alone that protected us today. i have no doubt. every single "what if" that i can come up with doesn't matter, because God was on top of things. there are no "what ifs", there are just God's plans.

and apparently, He even has plans that include frosty floats.

Friday, September 10, 2010

end of summer

between the world cup and all our travels, the summer quickly flew by. i tried to make the most of this summer and really just enjoy spending time with the kids as i knew at the end of the summer i would be going back to work full time.

we had a great summer.

we went to the fountains, spent time time at the library, played in the sprinklers in the backyard. not to mention some fun trips to visit family. my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in june. us kids organized a wonderful brunch to honor their love and celebrate together. 40 years. the best gift my parents could ever have given me is their example, their love for each other all these years. it's a gift that keeps on giving and helps me in my marriage and family daily. of course the kids were just delighted to celebrate and spend time with all their little cousins and their abuelos. and talk about finding a silver lining, we got to spend an extra couple days visiting thanks to julia belen suffering a slight concussion a few hours before we were supposed to leave for the airport. it was very scary, and the 2 trips to the ER and the CT scan were no fun, but antonio certainly didn't complain about the extra time with abuelo and abuela. and in the end, julia belen was fine. and almost just as soon as we got back from DC, we were off again. this time to colorado to visit the other abuelos. we had a wonderful week out in denver and delighted in meeting the kids' newest little cousin. even extended family were able to make the drive/flight from el paso and LA to come visit. it was a week full of visiting the mountains, going swimming, going to the zoo. we all had a lot of fun and were sad to come home.

but good things often come to an end. and so came the end of summer. i like to think back that we kept it focused on the family. this is a big year for us: new job for me, new baby, potentially a move if we can sell our house. i wanted this summer to be about family and the stability of it. i don't know how much the kids will remember about this summer. but i will hold so much of it in my heart forever.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup menu - June 23

Wednesday - USA!: meatloaf and homemade mashed potatoes
Thursday - Italy: spaghetti with meat sauce
Friday - Spain: (leftover) gazpacho, tortilla española

Trying to keep it easy this week. We had an interesting return trip to DC, involving Julia Belén suffering a concussion on Monday and getting a head CT on her second trip to the ER (will post about it later), and super delayed 9 PM flight on Tuesday. Low key is the theme.

why i cry

the USA vs. algeria world cup game today literally brought me to tears. as the clock went into stoppage time, i could feel tears welling up knowing that the US would not advance to the second round. just 60 seconds later, tears of sadness turned into tears of joy as landon donovan scored in the 91st minute, winning the game for the USA and winning our group, the first time since 1930.

while i can get really into sports, i don't cry over NCAA football. not even over the redskins (though that might be because i'm just numb when it comes to them now). i admit i get emotional over the olympics sometimes, but i don't cry if the US doesn't win.

but the world cup is not just any sporting event. it's way more than just soccer. what many people don't realize is that the world cup really takes place over the course of 3 years. what is broadcasted all over the world for about a month of the summer every 4 years is just a small part of it. our boys have been busting their butts for the past 3 years just to even qualify for this final stage of this year's world cup. they have to fight just to get a spot on the national team, and always while playing with their club teams at the same time.

let's face it, soccer doesn't have a huge following in the US like it does around the world (i have my own thoughts on that for another post some day). we fight to qualify for the world cup and when we do, we're still the underdogs. no one really takes the US seriously. people don't expect us to advance to the second round, and when we do, people expect it to be in second place. our team just doesn't get the respect it deserves.

so to watch our guys fight throughout today's game, not giving up and winning it in stoppage time, it just made me so proud of them and happy for them. they deserved the win. they earned the win. they put their all into that game, and the fact that we came out on top shows it.

and that's why i cry.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Spain vs Switzerland

On wednesday Julia made a Spanish themed dinner in honor of the Spain vs Switzerland game. A great tasting Gaspacho, Grilled Asparagus (from the farmers market) with Lemon Basil (from the garden) and Pollo al Ajillo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Japan vs Cameroon Dinner

Julia made a delicious dinner themed for the Japan vs Cameroon game yesterday. Everything was homemade except for the sushi. She use vegetables from our farmers market, and herbs from our garden to put it all together.
Julia Belén even ate sushi (vegetable only roll)! though Julia accidentally gave her some avocado from one of the spicy shrimp rolls and it was a tad too spicy for her. She just kept sticking her tongue out not knowing what had happened!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup menu - June 13

In honor of the greatest sporting event in the world, our dinners for about the next month will be a culinary journey around the world. I am going to attempt making dishes native to a country playing on a given day. I'm very excited about this "project" and getting to try new foods/recipes.

So here's our menu for the first week, starting June 13 (only goes through Wednesday because we are visiting DC this weekend in honor of my parents' 40th wedding annivesary!)

Sunday - Algeria: Algerian chicken, saffron couscous with raisins and mint
Monday - Japan: sushi, vegetable tempura, daikon radish and cucumber salad
Tuesday - Brazil: feijoada with rice, fried yucca (really hoping to find manioc to make farofa)
Wednesday - Spain: gazpacho, pollo al ajillo, grilled asparagus

Let the games and cooking begin!

Monday, March 01, 2010

rite of passage?

mondays are usually quiet days around here. i use it as a day to just spend time with the kids, catch up on laundry, get some cleaning done, get myself ready for my work week starting tuesday. being quiet days, i don't usually make much effort in getting ready. jeans, sweatshirt, glasses, no make-up.

today i made a little more effort. we had some errands to run this morning. i was actually pretty proud of myself. put in my contacts, put on make-up, picked out what i thought was a kind of cute/put together outfit.

i ran my errands with confidence, happy feeling that i didn't look like the stereotypical mom. that i looked more like a put-together mom that i often see out and about and wonder how they pull it off. the kids were great, we were efficient with our errands, and it was a happy morning overall.

then i got home and realized my shoes didn't match. they weren't even the same color.

who looks like a frazzled mom now?

Friday, February 26, 2010

a gift

on monday, antonio had his first trip to the ER. during lunch, he flipped over the side of his booster seat and fell 2-3 feet and landed on the hardwood floor. on his head.

naturally, he got very upset and cried a good bit. but he settled down pretty quickly and even went on to finish his lunch. i decided to just watch him for a bit instead of calling the doctor right away. got julia belén down for a nap, and then he and i settled down for his quiet time, which usually involves watching a movie together. about 5 minutes after julia belén fell asleep, i noticed that there was a spot/line on antonio's forehead that was sunken in. this really concerned me, as i would expect it to swell and that he'd have a big goose egg. so off to the ER. some quick thinking to figure out what to do about julia belén. taking her with us was pretty much out of the question as she would be super cranky from being woken up and not having a nap and i really needed to be able to give antonio my full attention. i was unable to reach our friends that live close to us. and it would have taken andres an hour to get home from downtown. i ended up taking julia belén to the daycare provider's house. she would be able to finish her nap and it was on the way to the urgent care center anyways.

after getting head x-rays, any skull fractures were ruled out. huge sigh of relief. we left the doctor with instructions to monitor him and look for signs of a concussion/head injury, including waking him up throughout the night to make sure we could rouse him. antonio has been doing great and is back to his silly self.

in thinking about monday's events, while i foremost gave thanks to God that antonio was okay, i also thanked Him for the experience itself. not that i am happy that antonio hit his head so hard. but thankful for the lessons learned from the day.

you don't have to know me well to know how much i want to be a stay at home mom. i pray for it daily. but sometimes, when the kids are acting up and i don't handle it with as much grace as i should, i worry that maybe i'm not cut out to be a stay at home mom.

being so far from family is also very hard. so many times do i think to myself how it would easier if we had family closeby. like on monday, it would have been a no brainer what to do with julia belén. not having family support nearby can make it seem so much more lonely.

monday was a gift. God gave me monday to help me realize that i would be a great stay at home, even without family living closeby. i got through monday's events with patience, confidence, calm, and grace. i even managed to make dinner, sticking to our original mean plan instead of our standby chicken nuggets or hot dogs.

monday was hectic day where nothing went as planned. my kids needed me more than ever, demanded more of me than on ordinary days. but if i was able to get through monday, giving 100% and not losing my cool and not feeling like i needed a break, then i know i can be a great stay at home mom.

(and yes, antonio has been buckled into his seat since).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

small successes, is it friday yet...


1. i finally got back into our weekly menu planning and stuck to it. with all the traveling we did between november and january, it was hard to make a plan and stick to it. i really missed the menu planning. thinking of what to make for dinner on a daily basis was harder than i remembered. having the weekly menu again has been sooo nice.

2. i took the kids to 9:00 Mass last friday morning. being the anniversary of roe v. wade, i really wanted to go to pray for those millions of babies whose lives were taken because of the decision. it was no small feat. i felt sabotaged every step of friday morning. but we made it.

3. i went to work this morning. every shred of me wants to be a stay at home mom, and to say i was unmotivated this morning is an understatement. but i do have a responsibility to fulfill, so i went.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

small successes, marathon edition


1. i completed my first half marathon this past saturday!!  hardest. coldest. craziest. stupidest. best. worst. awesome. all words which went through my mind during the long 13.1 miles to describe the experience. i am so blessed to have had the support of my family throughout the whole thing. it wasn't easy, but i did it!

2. we went on a family vacation to disneyworld and had a wonderful time! being so far from family, our vacations usually consist of going to visit. which we love doing, but it was nice to go on a vacation that was just for us. sometimes it's hard for me to step back and sort out the things that really need to get done and the things that don't. but putting our family first this time resulted in an unforgettable trip and we will always cherish the memories.

3. i made my lunch this week and didn't have to pick up fast food somewhere. this is a struggle for me because i get lazy about making my lunch the night before, but those lunches can add up and we are trying to pay off our debt.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

i guess i'll eat some worms

while in virginia for our christmas vacation, we went out to dinner with the family to an italian retaurant. part of the appetizer we ordered included fried calamari. upon the plate being brought to the table, antonio begged for some of the calamari. not wanting to discourage him in trying new foods, i gave him a piece. but he insisted on one of the pieces that had the tentacles.

"okay," i thought to myself, "if that's what he wants".

i gave him the calamari. he promptly turned it around with tentacles down, and announced to the table "araña" (spider). but the funniest part was that he then promptly picked it up and took a huge bite, even though he had just told us it was a spider!

later on, when his spaghetti was brought out, he announced that it was "gusanos" (worms). which he devoured.

i wonder what goes through his little mind, thinking that his parents feed him spiders and worms.